Korean Doctors Suck

I should preface this by saying that the subjective opinion in the title is based entirely upon one recent doctor visit. It’s probably not true of most Korean doctors. I just wanted you to click on the link (and it worked).

I realized nearly four weeks ago that I have some sort of UTI (urinary tract infection). I found an English-speaking doctor near my neighborhood. I went to his office, where he subscribed an antibiotic and told me to return in a week.

I returned as instructed. This time, the office was full of middle-aged and elderly Korean patients. After a short wait, a nurse walked into the lobby and talked to me. Our conversation (entirely in Korean) probably didn’t help dispel the popular notion among older Koreans that foreigners are dirty and promiscuous:

Nurse: William? Is William here?
Me: I’m William. Where do I go?
Nurse: You have a UTI, right?
*Being the only white guy, a few people were staring before this conversation. Now the rest were looking at me.*
Me: ummmm….yes.
Nurse: Urinary Tract Infection? Do you understand?
Me: Yes.
Nurse: Bla bla bla UTI bla bla bla UTI.
Me: I can’t understand.
Nurse: Bla…Bla…Bla…UTI….Bla…..Bla….Bla….UTI….
Me: I still can’t understand. I don’t speak Korean well.
Nurse: You…have…a…UTI.
Me: YES! I KNOW!!!!! Where do you want me to go?
Nurse: Ok. Go to the lab.

By the end of our conversation, the other patients had stopped even trying to be subtle or polite. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I heard the word “foreigner” a few times. One woman even pointed at me while she was talking. I was mortified.

The doctor prescribed me another week of antibiotics and sent me on my way. He told me to go to a specialist if the infection wasn’t gone after the second round of medication. As I left, the lobby was still full of people who were happy to stare as I paid and practically ran out of the building.

Fortunately for Korean doctors (whose business may be serious damaged by this hard-hitting journalism), they have a chance to redeem themselves today. I’ll be heading to a specialist this afternoon. Maybe the next doctor will run a tighter ship.

Until next time.


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5 thoughts on “Korean Doctors Suck

  1. I find that doctors regularly share information about other patients. Discretion and confidentiality don’t seem to exist.

    • wtl0715 says:

      I’ve heard several stories about the same thing. I know a couple of people who have gone to other cities and used fake names to get STD tests (forgoing insurance coverage) to avoid their school finding out that they had the test.

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